Mayor Bill de Blasio Sends a Video Love Letter to the Teachers Union. Kids and Taxpayers Get Jilted.


New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) expressed his adoration for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in a video tribute that played at the union's annual conference in Los Angeles over the weekend. (Click above to watch.) In his remarks, de Blasio called AFT President Randi Weingarten "a change agent" who has "been fighting the good fight," and he lauded local union boss Michael Mulgrew as a "steadfast advocate for his members," who showed in recent contract negotiation that "he cared just as deeply about the students of New York City."

So how about that just-inked teachers contract that de Blasio called "a testament of what can be achieved when people of goodwill work together?" In a nutshell, the mayor agreed to large retroactive raises the city can't afford, and in exchange extracted few concessions regarding lockstep pay and rules that make it impossible to kick off the payroll teachers who no longer have to show up for work because principals don't want them in their schools.

At recent public forum hosted by The Manhattan Institute (watch it online), an expert panel dissected the contract:

  • Teachers are eligible to earn merit bonuses worth up to $20,000, but the pay bumps have to be cleared by a "central committee" that includes representatives from the union. "This seems a lot more like patronage than it does merit pay," said Jenny Sedlis of StudentsFirstNY. It means "more bureaucracy and less power for the educators out in the field," said Daniel Weisberg of The New Teacher Project.
  • Teachers get raises amounting to 19% through 2018, including retroactive raises for 2009 and 20010 worth $4.3 billion, which the city will pay out over the next six years. "In 2018, we'll have a $9.8 billion teacher
    |||NYC Mayor's Press Office
    NYC Mayor's Press Office

    payroll, and 9% will be for work done nearly a decade ago," noted the Manhattan Institute's Nicole Gelinas.

  • The contract stipulates that the city and union must work together to find $1.3 billion in annual health care savings, but it ruled out asking teachers to contribute to their own health care premiums (as pretty much every other member of the American labor force does). So where then will all that savings come from? "A lot of us are skeptical this is going to produce results," said Charles Brecher of the Citizens Budget Commission.
  • How about those 1200 tenured teachers on the payroll who sit at home because they can't find a job? The new contract establishes a limited, temporary "expedited" removal process with no teeth. "I have absolutely no faith it will result in teachers getting exited," says Weisberg, a former city lawyer who used to sit across the bargaining table from the UFT. "It's window dressing."

In other news, Mayor de Blasio is packing his bags for a 10-day vacation in Italy, where he'll also set aside time to accomplish some of his essential duties in governing New York by discussing climate change and income inequality with the italians.

In a recent Reason TV video, I traced de Blasio's sycophantic relationship with AFT boss Randi Weingarten back to 2003, making a case that his steadfast opposition to charter schools is rooted in his desire to please the union.

NEXT: Jim Epstein on the $2 Million Teacher

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  1. Congratulations, Big Apple. You are finding out that elections have consequences…

    1. Mayor Koch used say this about elections, “The people have spoken. Now, they shall be punished for it.”

  2. I finally figured out why my school district forbade skipping a grade and took such pains to make sure graduation requirements were all taught in the same time slot to prevent getting through high school early when they also refused to hold back low performers.

    They got dinged on bad performance when students didn’t graduate ‘on time’, but they also got state dollars on a per-student basis, so it was in their interest to force everyone into the twelve year track regardless of aptitude.

    1. Yeah, I lived this, too. Could have graduated at least two years early, but they wouldn’t let me.

      So I became a JD and skipped school instead, smoking a LOT of pot in the process. While maintaining a 4.0.

      So it all worked out…

      1. After years of being told “You’re not allowed to answer questions in class” my motivation just kept dropping and I ended up a C student in High School despite knowing all the relevent materials. The teachers were more concerned about the people who didn’t care than those who did, and as a result, by the end of the twelve years, nobody cared.

      2. So I became a JD

        Sheesh. Another HyR lawyer. How many are there now in the commentariat?

  3. “with education changing as fast as it is, teacher development is more necessary than ever”


    1. Yes, the derp is strong in that statement.

  4. It’s astonishing how quickly DeBlasio made Bloomberg look like a moderate.

  5. NYC is made up of quite lazy, untrustworthy and unethical people.

    We ought to do a quitclaim deed on that sewer to Venezuela…Bolivia…or perhaps Cuba.

  6. I think the tide is starting to turn on the Teachers’ Unions. Everyone but the real full retard progs like DeBlasio realizes there can be no meaningful fix for the schools until the Teachers’ Unions are out of the way. Even Obama’s Education Secretary understands this.

    1. DeBlazio is the poster child for maximum derp. The jackass got elected with a 25% voter turnout. Of that, he got 60% of the vote.

      Obviously the other 85% who voted against him, or, decided to NOT vote because they are lazy d-bags. Of that 85%, most are probably praying that a meteorite hits this moron before the end of his first term. That said, the proto-DeBlazio (Obama) is still going strong after 6 years of stupid, so DB could get re-elected. If he does, NYC deserves the all the derpelisiousness they get stuffed up their collectivist a-holes.

      Politics is the penultimate forum for making your own luck. Our luck sucks because we elect total pin heads.

  7. It’s a damned shame that the vote of a minority of people in places like NYC inflicts a shitstain like Bloomblasio on the rest of the populace. The people who voted for him? Fuck them – got what they deserved.

    Everyone else? Not so much.

    And this is why I respect Lysander Spooner and his ideas more and more every day.

    Go fuck yourself, Duh Base-io.

    1. The shame is that they inflict him on their own children. They are the ones who suffer. The white people are either rich enough not to have to care or move out. It is like Washington Dc. The last mayor hired a really good head of schools who actually made some progress. The blacks in the city voted him out of office. They didn’t want their schools reformed. They just want them to be a jobs program.

      1. Live in NoVA, it is not just the job’s program. The sheer ignorance of the DC voter’s is mind boggling. These are the same people who voted in Marion Barry AFTER he went to jail. Granted, the bitch did set him up.

  8. Those kids can’t vote.

    Fuck ’em.

  9. Every time someone whines that teachers aren’t paid enough, aren’t they implying that more pay will allow for more qualified hiring? If you increase pay AND don’t make it easier to fire existing teachers what kind of incentive is that? Not that I think Mayor Bill gives a shit.

    Also OT – am I missing something with this Reason account (long time lurker, blah blah)? Can I get notifications when a response is posted? Someone tell me I’m retarded; I can take it.

    1. The point of paying teachers more is to attract better teachers, as in replace the ones we have with better ones. That of course is not what they have in mind. They seem to have this magical view of pay. That if only they were rewarded more schools would magically get better.

    2. Re: responses. As far as I know, you have to keep reloading links to your comments, or, if you use the add-ons with Chrome or Firefox, you can save links to articles and it highlights all new comments.

      I don’t know of any way to get to send email when someone responds to you.

    3. If you increase pay AND don’t make it easier to fire existing teachers what kind of incentive is that?

      Okay, fuck it.

      MATT DAMON!!!

    4. You are not retarded in this regard. The reason interface for its commitariate is retarded.

      You could be retarded for other reasons.

  10. This crap will go on until “Wall Street,” which pays a crapload of
    NYC’s bills, decides it is finished with playing the role of golden goose and departs for more welcoming climes.

  11. Charters are crony schools. No thanks, I’ll go with the libertarian option.

    1. I wonder if the current mayor of NYC sends (or has sent) his little darlings to a private or a public school?

  12. It will only be a couple more years now before stories start being run in the media wondering why New York is undergoing such serious decline.

    Many things will be noted in these stories, all of them will ignore that de Blasio will be to blame for New York’s precipitous fall.

  13. Per Wikipedia, his two kids attended/still attend public schools. At least he drinks the Kool aid too (unlike the president.)

    1. But I betcha 100 to 1 that his kids don’t go to a failing, dangerous public school. There are usually a handful of decent schools even within the most dismal public systems. Even LA Unified has a couple! Of course these are the rarest of exceptions, but they do exist.

  14. De Blasio was elected with a clear mandate to transfer money from taxpayers to unions. I’d say he’s off to a great start.

  15. deja vu all over again… for any of you who were around when John Lindsay was NYC Mayor, his ‘management style’ was to cave to any and every union demand for benefit expansions, wage increases and anything else they threatened to strike over.

    I predicted that, within a few years, NYC would declare bankruptcy.

    I was right. Mayor Bill seems to be cut from the same stupid cloth.

    Give NYC a few more years of that kind of ‘leadership’ and it’ll be bankrupt again. But trust me on this… none of the folks who paved the road to hell for the City will ever take any personal responsibility for their stupid actions.

    Good luck, NYC.

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